The US has pledged $400 million to Mexico to help in the fight against drug and weapons smuggling and put a stop to an issue that often plagues the US-Mexican border at its source. However, in a recent Houston Chronicle article, Texas Sheriffs are criticizing the Merida Initiative because it is spending money in Mexico rather than the US. Neither strategy is right on its own; rather the US government should be tackling the problem from both sides.
Heritage expert, Dr James Carafano is calling for just that—spending on both sides of the border. In both a Heritage Executive Memorandum and Backgrounder, he and Dr. David Mahlhausen cite the security needs on the American side of the border. The two stated that “Congress and the Administration should plan to allocate about $400 million per year over three years…” They further called for much of this money to be allocated to the states and localities to fund local law enforcement who are the ones who have the best intelligence and knowledge of the specific areas around the border. Local law enforcement’s community policing efforts have positive effects on border security by “deter[ring] the types of crime that are associated with illegal trafficking along the border.” The Merida Initiative is a good security step, however funding does not need to be focused solely on one side of the battle; rather we can attack it from both sides of the border.